‘Towards a General Strike’
Madrid, December 2
Sunday night we came back late from Marinaleda. We wanted to arrive before the General Assembly ended in Puerta del Sol, so that we could present the flag of the little utopian village that we received as a present from the mayor.
It turned out the General Assembly had already ended hours earlier. It wasn’t a surprise. There is hardly any revolutionary vibe in Madrid at the moment. As a result of this, the demonstration that was held last sunday, a march from the neighbourhoods to Congress under the slogan ‘Towards a General Strike’, became a complete flop. Only about a thousand people attended. Most people didn’t know anything about it.
The heart of the local 15M movement remains the Hotel Madrid. It continues to be a troublesome place. Notwithstanding the efforts of many dedicated people, it often resembles a mental institution. One where the patients are in charge.
A few days ago someone set fire to a neighbouring theatre after having entered there through the hotel. The fire was put out, but it added to the bad reputation of the place. It attracts a lot of people from the street, people who need professional help. It’s not an environment where the citizens are going to inform themselves about the movement, or to take part. And the people who are seriously working to make something out of it are complaining of intense psychological pressure, about conflict between ego’s and factions etc. Many of them are giving up and leaving.
As for me, I’m no longer tempted to take part in Communications at the hotel. A lot of things need to be sorted out. First of all the water problem. You cannot house people who got evicted in a building where they can’t use the bathrooms. Fortunately, other buildings keep getting occupied, so that the hotel’s main function is that of a temporary solution where people get housed before they can be offered an appartment in one of the other squats.
With the lack of a real revolutionary movida here in Madrid, I might soon be on the move. In all directions things are happening. Strikes in particular. It’s a peculiar thing. Here in Madrid, there is constant talk of a strike. There is a General Strike commission active for months, but it doesn’t translate into deeds. The ‘general strike’ is like the revolution itself. People have faith that one day in the foreseeable future it will happen, but in practice it never does.
In the rest of the world it’s different, though. Portugal has had a general strike last week. England as well. When Occupy Oakland was evicted over a month ago, a general strike was called for immediately, and three days later the city’s port was shut down. And in Greece, people have just celebrated the seventh general strike in a year, the fourteenth since the beginning of 2010.
Here in Spain, people only sing about it. “Hace falta ya una huelga, una huelga. Hace falta ya una huelga general.”
“What’s lacking now is a strike, a strike. What’s lacking now is a general strike.”
Truly, it’s lacking.